We’ve all had our classic “Eat, Pray, Love” moment where it just seems like we desperately need to sit there and stare at a massive plate of pasta before we absolutely devour it. Unfortunately, whilst getting on the next flight to Italy might seem mouth-wateringly tempting, recreating that moment might need to take the backseat right now – or at least until we break up for the summer (or at least Easter - I mean, what are those 5 weeks for?). Alas, we know we all need that incredible Italian fix somehow, so we’ve taken to the streets to bring you the best selection of Italian food London has to offer.… Fun fact: they all end with an ‘O’… coincidence? I don’t think so. Let Italy’s cuisine convince your tastebuds and read on!
Dubbed London’s “LA Italian” hotspot, this contemporary Shoreditch restaurant doesn’t just offer scrumptious authentic Italian dishes, but even has a DJ to play live music on Thursdays. Passo is the perfect spot if you’re looking for somewhere to fine dine in jeans. The chill, casual vibe they’ve got going on, paired with their legendary niche dishes makes for such a relaxed, cosy evening, and will definitely increase your appreciation for more than just Penne Pomodoro. If you’re up to try something new and gorgeously Italian, we recommend the Octopus Ragout, or their Anchovy Caramelised Onion Pizza – our favourite dishes that we’re sure will stay with you forever.
If you’ve lived in London for a while now, you’ll know this place is iconic. It’s pretty much been around for as long as the queen has (okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration – but it’s o l d) and has become a staple for homemade Italian food. This Michelin star restaurant offers the pasta dishes of your dreams, with everything from lobster linguine and chestnut tagliatelle to a good ol’ classic lasagne on the menu. You might want to book in advance though because, much like a flight to Italy, Franco’s is usually booked quite far in advance, but once you get the chance to try their food, it’ll all become clear…
If you’re after authentic Italian dishes with flawless, impeccable presentation, then Frantoio is exactly the place to be. Their Risotto Primavera, topped with luscious, delectable baby artichokes - cooked to perfection - is a taste of heaven. Located right in the heart of Chelsea, Frantoio’s location couldn’t be more prime, and the buzzing evening ambience practically means you’re as close to Italy as you’re going to get. And the cherry on top? The staff are AMAZING. Quick, excellent service, great food and a to-die-for environment – what more could you possibly want? Sounds like a perfect meal out to us!
BOCCA DI LUPO
Translating to “the mouth of the wolf”, Bocca di Lupo literally has everything you can possibly dream of in their menu. Located deep on the streets of Soho, this gem of a restaurant serves us some sensational regional goodness. Whether you’re after sea bream with gremolata from Puglia, Pappardelle with wild boar ragu from Tuscany or anchovy-filled sage leaves from Venice – they’ve got it all. The best bit? You can either get small portions or go larger for an extra fiver, roughly. Getting the smaller plates also means you get to try loads of different dishes, and who wouldn’t want to do that! The more, the merrier?
Now you know we weren’t possibly going to leave you without dessert, were we? Legend has it Sicilians used to carry ice from the mountains and mix it with compotes and berries to create the deliciousness we call gelato today – thank goodness for that creation, eh? We know we’re all watching our waistlines (or trying to), so Gelupo can be incredibly alluring with its low-fat gelato and to-die-for sorbet. With different flavours every season, you won’t want to miss this masterpiece of a dessert place. And the best part? It’s right across from Bocca di Lupo, so make sure you save some room after dinner!